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Chevy to dealers: To get Volt, you must train staff

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Chevy to dealers: To get Volt, you must train staff

Dave Guilford

Automotive News -- April 5, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

NEW YORK -- Chevrolet dealers who want to sell the Volt plug-in hybrid car will have to invest in staff training, tools and equipment.

John Hughes, Volt marketing manager, would not give details, saying dealers will be told this year. Chevrolet plans to begin selling the Volt by year end.

"Our retailers will have a training requirement and a tools and equipment requirement," Hughes said last week at the New York auto show.

That could mean that some Chevrolet dealers don't sell the Volt, he acknowledged.

GM began making Volts with production tooling last week at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Hughes said those initial vehicles will be used for testing, as were earlier models built by hand.

The Volt, unveiled at the 2007 Detroit auto show, is General Motors Co.'s attempt to solve the range problem of electric vehicles. GM says the car will travel 40 miles using an electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery, then use an internal combustion engine to recharge the battery.

The powertrain gives Chevrolet the opportunity to attract a new kind of customer, Hughes said. But it will require a major effort to educate consumers beyond electric-vehicle advocates who understand what GM calls its range-extended electric vehicle.

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